Originally posted on 05/07/2023 @ 15:37
High fever is a common and feared problem both for kids and caregivers. Reading this article will give you confidence about approaching high fever in children at home. Along the reading journey, we will cover high fever, low-grade fever, at-home treatments for fever, signals prior to fever, things to avoid when dealing with fever, and much more. Let’s dive in.
What is Fever?
Fever is the response of the body to infections. Fever means your child’s immune system is active and fighting against viruses/bacteria. To a certain degree which will be phrased below, caregivers don’t need to be alarmed, but when low grade fever becomes high fever, that means you should take action as a parent.
What is Low-Grade Fever?
A low-grade fever is a term used to define body temperature between normal and high fever. Body temperature between 99.5°F (37.5°C) and 100.3°F (38°C) refers to low-grade fever.
It may turn into high fever or not. But no need to be alarmed. It is a healthy response from your child’s immune system. Many diseases could be overtaken with just a low-grade fever response. Also after some of the vaccinations, the following day, your child can experience low-grade fever, this is a normal response from her/his defense mechanisms as well.
A lot of times low-grade fever doesn’t last more than 36 hours. Children with low-grade fever have a normal level of activity. They don’t seem to be ill or unhappy besides their body temperature. Finally, low-grade fever is not an indication of an illness that needs medication, except if it lasts more than three days or turns up to high fever.
What is High Fever?
High fever is considered a body temperature above 38°C (100°F) measured rectally or tympanic, 37,6° C(99.6°F) measured orally or 37,4 °C (99.3°F) measured axillary.
What to do when your child’s fever is high?
- Change the child’s clothes with thin and loose ones. When body temperature goes up, your child will feel cold. Do not cover your child with a blanket, this will lead to a febrile convulsion.
- Make sure your child drinks more fluid than usual. Water will reduce body temperature.
- Keep the room temperature at 21-22 °C (69.8-71.6°F)
- A cool shower will help to reduce body temperature.
- Put a cool wet cloth on the child’s armpits and inguinal area. In both these areas, there are big blood vessels. Therefore cool blood will circulate all over your kid’s body.
- Antipyretic medication should be the last option.
Things NOT to do when dealing with high fever?
- Do not cover the child with blankets when the kid with fever feels cold and chill.
- Don’t make the child wear thick clothes
- Avoid showering with cold water
- Do not use antipyretics too frequently (the maximum amount is 4 four times a day). It can lead to “rebound high fever” and drug toxicity.
When to call a doctor?
- Children younger than three months with high-fever
- If there are rashes with high-fever
- Still irritable children despite the reduced fever
- Children with fever and breathing rapidly
- Cough, wheezing, otalgia, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, diarrhea, dysuria, color change of urine
- Swollen and pulsatile fontanel
- High fever persistent for 72 hours
The fever is a reaction of the body. Caregivers, parents shouldn’t be alarmed about every temperature change in children. Just keep an eye on the red flags before you visit the doctor.
Murat Çağlar EROL M.D